Choosing a furnace for your home is something you may only have to do once or twice in a lifetime. Furnaces are made to last about 20 years, and depending on if you are moving into a brand new home or looking to replace out an older model furnace in your current home, it’s good to know what to look for when the time comes. Nobody expects you to be an expert when making the decision, but coming to the table with a little knowledge will help you be more confident in your choice.
What’s Your Type?
Understanding the current type of furnace in your home may play a role in what you replace it with, says our resident expert, Keith Hill, technical support manager for Minnesota Air. The U.S. Department of Energy has a simple infographic to help you learn about the different types, but your contractor’s company can also tell you.
Is it metal vented – with a metal pipe to the chimney – or is it vented outdoors with plastic pipe (PVC or ABS)? A technician or dealer will be able to help you choose what’s right for you, based on your current system.
If you are a moving to a brand new home and they let you pick your own HVAC, you’ll have a little more freedom in your choice. Pick whatever type you want, but remember that extra rebates and long-term energy savings should factor into your decision about whether to spend the extra money for a higher efficiency unit.
Know Your Furnace Size
All installation contractors will perform a load calculation to find out what size furnace you need.
“Do not assume the existing furnace is the right size,” says Keith. “Many older furnaces were oversized, making them perform poorly, wasting energy, and giving lower levels of comfort. Maybe it was sized properly back in the day, but remodeling has lowered the home heat loss."
He says that if there has been an addition put on the house, extra insulation added, or new doors or windows installed, they can all change your home’s heat loss. A quality contractor will perform a heat loss calculation at no cost as part of the bidding process.
Know What You Want
Next, make sure you do enough research to know what you are looking for in a furnace. Know your priorities – do you want something inexpensive because of budget constraints, or are you looking to reduce your heating bill and are looking for the best possible energy-efficient model.
“Maybe you want to improve your comfort level – many newer furnaces are not only quieter, but provide better temperature comfort with staged heat or modulation,” says Keith.
Hire A Good Contractor To Install It
Lastly, but certainly not least, hire a good HVAC contractor to replace your unit. Many people think that getting the best furnace is what’s most important, but really, finding the right contractor to properly install it is equally essential. A furnace installed properly can mean more efficiency – saving you money on fuel and the cost of future repairs. Not only is a good contractor important to keeping your new furnace running the way it was designed to run, but they’ll be able to let you know if you need any upgrades or changes made to your existing ductwork.
Keith says a good contractor knows you are not an HVAC expert and is willing to talk to you on your level of expertise. They should answer any questions you may have and explain the reasons behind what they are doing.